Hindu activists in K'taka town enter church, allege conversions

Hindu activists in K'taka town enter church, allege conversions

Udupi, Sep 11 (IANS) Tension prevailed in the coastal town of Karkala in Karnataka's Udupi district after activists from a Hindu group barged into a church at the time of prayers, alleging religious conversions.

The incident took place on Friday. Karkala police have registered a case against the members of the right-wing Hindu Jagaran Vedike and a church priest. Security has been beefed up in the town of Karkala and Kukkandur village church.

According to police, the members of the Hindu Jagaran Vedike barged into a church in Kukkandur village alleging that the church authorities assembled more than 35 Hindus there to carry out religious conversions. The police have questioned Benedict, the church pastor for allegedly carrying out conversions.

Police sources said Benedict did not have permission to hold religious meetings. Earlier, there was a complaint filed against him on July 15 for organising religious meetings with the intention to carry out conversions.

The pastor was warned by the police not to carry out such activities without permission. However, on Friday, the programme was held without permission, the police said.

The police have also recorded the statement of Sunil, a labourer who participated in the prayer meeting, saying that Benedict forced him to attend the church prayers.

The police have registered a case against Hindu Jagaran Vedike members under IPC sections 143 (unlawful assembly), 147 (rioting), 149 (offence committed during unlawful assembly), 504 (intentional insult), 506 (criminal intimidation) and 323 (voluntarily causing hurt) based on the complaint filed by Benedict.

It was alleged that the activists misbehaved with women after barging inside the church, so the police have also registered a case under IPC 354 (assaulting or using criminal force on women).

The police have also booked Benedict under sections 295 (deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings) and 298 (uttering words etc with deliberate intent to wound the religious feelings of any person).